CCT budget will affect other pro-poor services – group

A GROUP campaigning for a pro-poor budget is criticizing the Senate’s decision to pass the proposed P1.64 trillion national budget for 2011 without any cuts in the P21.1 billion appropriation for conditional cash transfer (CCT).

The Social Watch Philippines/Alternative Budget Initiative (SWP/ABI) contends that giving most of the anti-poverty funds to the CCT program will have consequence on other pro-poor services of the government, which suffered huge budget cuts due to the CCT.

“The Filipinos will definitely suffer from the decreasing levels of public spending for poverty programs caused by the transfer of allocations to CCT which only addresses very few dimensions of poverty,” said Marivic Raquiza, convenor of SWP, which organized the ABI.

According to the group, the budget for the Indigents’ Program under the Philippine Health Insurance Program would be slashed by 33 percent even when the country ranks ninth on the list of 22 high-burden TB countries in the world.

Also, while 20 percent of school-aged Filipinos are out of school, the sector would only get one percent of the education budget.

Meanwhile, the agriculture sector, which remains in a slump, would also have its budget reduced from 41.17 billion to P37.698 billion.

“Worse, the funds that were cut from the budget of frontline agencies were transferred to lump sum items without sufficient details,” said Raquiza.

“How could the Senate approve a budget with P94 billion lump sum appropriations that lack details,” she added.

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